Fantasy Football Injury Updates: James Robinson, Miles Sanders, Justin Fields (2021 Fantasy Football)
The holiday season is nearing a close, which means that the 2021 NFL season is also coming to an end soon. Hopefully, everyone had a fantastic Christmas, and if you’re someone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday, you hopefully had a remarkable weekend with friends and family. Fantasy football playoffs continue to occur despite all of the injuries and news pertaining to COVID-19 this time of the year.
There wasn’t an abundance of injuries in Week 16, but there were some injuries to notable players across the league. Following another week of action, here is an injury update with information on each major injury and how each situation should be handled in fantasy football.
Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
Justin Fields seemingly came out of Week 15 healthy in a showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. The Chicago Bears would fall to 5-10 with the loss to the Vikings, and it was revealed that Fields had an ankle injury he suffered sometime during the contest. The rookie signal-caller was limited in practice all week, but there weren’t many indications that he was in danger of missing Chicago’s meeting with the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. But with Andy Dalton and Fields dealing with injuries, Matt Nagy named Nick Foles the starter, who would lead them to a victory on Sunday. It remains to be seen if the Bears will get Fields back in the last two weeks of the season.
James Robinson (RB – JAC)
The Jacksonville Jaguars suffered yet another loss in Week 16 to the New York Jets. Early in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss, James Robinson sadly went down with a non-contact injury on a run by Tavon Austin. Robinson would slowly walk to the locker room with trainers as he was immediately ruled out of the game with an Achilles ailment. The worst outcome was revealed after the game as interim head coach, Darrel Bevell, shared that Robinson suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. With Robinson looking to begin his road to recovery, Dare Ogunbowale will likely handle the majority of the running back snaps for the Jaguars moving forward.
Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
The Philadelphia Eagles were able to steamroll the New York Giants on Sunday, but they sustained multiple injuries in their backfield. Miles Sanders would leave the game early with a hand injury and would not return to the contest. Sanders has had injury issues throughout the season and has failed to score a touchdown yet, so it’s tough to see him sustain another setback. Following Sanders’ exit, Jordan Howard would also exit in the fourth quarter with a stinger injury. Boston Scott will be in line to handle the majority of the workload if Sanders misses any time, while Howard could handle more touches as well if he’s able to overcome his stinger. As of this moment, the Eagles fear that Sanders has a fractured hand, so I’d expect him to miss at least a week before he can return if that is the case.
Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR)
Sony Michel has become the No. 1 running back for the Los Angeles Rams over the past month or so, making Darrell Henderson the change-of-pace back. Michel had another stellar outing in Week 16 versus the Vikings, but his running mate would sustain a knee injury on a decent run that resulted in a first down. Henderson was tackled awkwardly to the ground, and he immediately came up hobbling. After Sunday’s victory for the Rams, it was reported that Los Angeles believes Henderson suffered a knee sprain. Even though Michel has already been starting, he could see a slightly bigger workload if Henderson misses more time. Jake Funk may operate as the backup to Michel until Henderson or Cam Akers can return to action.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
One of the hottest teams in the NFL right now is the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead of being a high-flying offense that scores in bunches every game, the Chiefs have become a well-balanced team that can run the ball and play stifling defense. Clyde-Edwards-Helaire is the starting running back for Kansas City, while Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore have spelled him when he needs a breather. Edwards-Helaire endured a shoulder/collarbone injury in Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers after getting driven into the ground. With the Chiefs having firm control of the game, Edwards-Helaire remained sidelined for the second half. The good news is that the x-rays were negative for Edwards-Helaire after the game, but he’ll undergo more tests on Monday. But if he is forced to miss time, then Williams and Gore would both be in for heightened roles next Sunday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Adam Thielen (WR – MIN)
Adam Thielen came into this week a bit beaten up as he was still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered weeks ago. The veteran wideout has been sidelined in recent weeks with his ankle ailment, but he was able to make enough progress to suit up and play on Sunday against the Rams. There is always a chance of re-injury, and after being tackled multiple times by the ankles during Sunday’s loss, Thielen would be standing on the sideline without his helmet on, indicating that he likely worsened his ankle injury. If Thielen misses more time in Week 17, K.J. Osborn will take on a more prominent role in the offense alongside Justin Jefferson.
Leonard Fournette (RB – TB)
Injuries ravaged the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their shutout loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football in Week 15. Altogether, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette exited early with injuries. Fournette would suffer a hamstring injury, and the Buccaneers wanted to avoid placing him on injured reserve to see if he could heal with some rest. But with Tampa Bay having their sights on defending their title as Super Bowl champions, they took the cautious route in placing Fournette on injured reserve, ending his regular season. Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn both performed well in the absence of Fournette in Week 16. Even though the team signed Le’Veon Bell, I’d expect Jones to continue to handle most of the workload while Vaughn and Bell are sprinkled in.
Mike Evans (WR – TB)
Like Fournette, Evans also left last week’s contest with a hamstring ailment. There were doubts that Evans would be able to suit up in Week 16, and that became true as he was ruled out ahead of Sunday’s divisional matchup with the Carolina Panthers. Evans wasn’t placed on injured reserve as the Buccaneers believe he’ll be able to return sometime before the end of the regular season. Until Evans returns, Antonio Brown will be the clear No. 1 target for Tom Brady in Tampa Bay’s offense. Evans’ next chance to return is in Week 17 against the New York Jets.
Chris Godwin (WR – TB)
It was an unfortunate turn of events for Godwin versus the Saints in Week 15. Godwin was having a career year for the Buccaneers and was amidst a contract year while playing on the franchise tag. Tampa Bay’s leading target-getter would sustain a knee injury originally believed to be a sprain. However, after undergoing more testing, it was discovered that Godwin tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. Brown will likely operate mostly out of the slot with Godwin out, while Evans and Tyler Johnson are the outside receivers.